Breaking the Dam

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The far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) made a historic win at the Dutch general election on Wednesday, sending shockwaves throughout the European Union and paving the way for complicated coalition talks, the Associated Press reported.

The party, led by populist veteran politician Geert Wilders, doubled its seats in the lower chamber of parliament, reaching a staggering 37 seats. This makes it the largest party by far in the 150-seat legislature, followed by the left-wing Green-Labor alliance with 25.

The PVV led a successful campaign based on anti-immigration rhetoric. The outgoing government, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), had collapsed over disagreements on asylum rules. This made migration the central point of contention in this year’s snap election.

With such a large majority, Wilders might become the Netherlands’ first-ever far-right prime minister. He would be the latest of a series of far-right populists landing the top job among the EU’s member states, after Italy’s Giorgia Meloni last year.

Another core element of his political manifesto was his country’s exit from the European Union – “Nexit” for short. While the Dutch are unlikely to support this proposal, Wilders does not seem to be toning down his Euroskeptic stance, Politico reported.

Nonetheless, he would still be a head-scratcher for Brussels. Giving another seat to the far-right at the European leaders’ table could tip over the continental bloc and lead to the reversal of key policies, such as military support for Ukraine.

For the moment, it is unclear whether Wilders will manage to form a government under his leadership.

The Dutch electoral system entails near-perfect proportional representation and a fragmented parliament, which makes coalitions difficult to achieve, the Guardian explained.

The VDD and the Green-Labor alliance said they would not work with Wilders. However, Pieter Omtzigt, who founded a new center-right party and was hitherto opposed to ruling with the PVV, now seems to have left the door open to discussion.

An alliance of all centrist parties against the PVV could also be seen as a betrayal of Dutch voters, Politico argued.

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